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MI • 43 Years Old • Male

The fight inside the NHLPA

Posted 12:38 PM ET | Comments 3
Frank Seravalli wrote a good piece regarding the NHLPA potential opt out of the current CBA https://www.tsn.ca/nhlpa-...poking-the-bear-1.1360531 It reads pretty much as I expected. Escrow is the thorn in the players side. 12.5% of paychecks gone back to the league. It’s a bizarre groupon that the league owners managed to acquire with the revenue split of 50/50. They show the numbers, and take back the true up. Ouch.

Of all people, Sean Avery wrote a compelling piece about a player’s take home money versus contractual money https://www.hockeybuzz.co...rol_panel/myblog_form.php
The eye opener here comes when he says that the take home on 13.2 million earned is $660,000 after taxes, agents, escrow, etc. That number is significant because it is the average career earnings of an NHL player at the time of the article (2015) based on a 5 1/2 year career. Yikes.

It’s as lot of money for sure, but a far cry from what they were expecting. And if they retire due to injury at 25 or 26, that money isn’t going to make it very far. An interesting read for sure.

However, at the end of Seravalli’s article there was a small blurb: Secondary items on the players’ wish list include an agreed upon international hockey calendar, with guaranteed NHL participation in the Olympics, as well as health care and retirement considerations, and potentially reform on the impact restricted free agent players are having on the salary cap with their second NHL contract.

Read that last sentence. Reform on the impact RFAs are having on the salary cap with their second NHL contract. There it is. The unhappiness of veteran guys who waited until their third contract to “cash in” who now can’t because a 22 year old figured out how to do it way quicker. It sounds to me like the players want a cap on that RFA contract. Well, some of them.

For the most part, i hear players wanting each other to get every dollar they can. But this, this is new ground. In the current system there is no way to keep an elite young player from getting 10 million plus. Kane and Toews had to wait for that deal, winning 3 cups along the way. You now have teams paying young guys with a small (but impressive) sample size of work. It turns out, though, all ships do not rise together. Some leave port and some sink.

I have no idea how that is going to sound in the NHLPA meetings. Matthews and McDavid are the new faces of the game. They are also the faces of the issue making other players unhappy. Draisaitl and Nylander will probably get more focus. That is, until this new batch is finally signed. We have no idea what the final numbers for Marner, Tkachuk, Laine, Coyle and others will be. But, these guys are going to bear all the brunt of this complaint. Warranted or unwarranted.

There is one last piece that I am trying to get confirmation on. Signing Bonus $. For Toronto, it is a huge piece of how they close the deal. I wish I could see a guy’s face when he gets a check for millions before the season. It must be unreal. But, apart from tax benefits, is there another built in bonus? Are bonus checks exempt from escrow? I’ve heard they are but cannot get confirmation.

IF bonus checks are exempt, then Austin Matthews pays the same in escrow as a guy at league minimum. Process that. His in season salary is the smallest part of his pay and the piece that gets hit with the most fees and taxes. Again, if this is the case, Toronto’s players pay, on average, a far smaller percent of escrow than anyone in the league. A cap ceiling team.

First, good for the players. They’ve figured out a way to hang on to more money. Second, uh oh. If players are angry at each other for imbalance in money, this is going to be a huge problem. I would expect to see some kind of back diving escrow fee at least being brought up. If 70% or more of Toronto’s payroll is doled out before the season, then only 30% is being hit for the make even fee. Roughly 24 million of 82 million. Good grief.

Let the players figure this one out. They all want each other to do well. But, when it starts causing real issues for other players, it looks like there is a ceiling. I guess we wait and see.
Filed Under:   NHLPA   escrow   NHL CBA  
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